Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 9:52 PM GMT on July 15, 2013
June 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary
June featured the deadliest monsoon-related flood in recent history for India, as well as devastating floods in Canada and Germany. A record-breaking heat wave affected the interior southwest of the U.S. and also in Alaska. The Atlantic tropical storm season got off to an early start with two named storms. Fires in Sumatra, Indonesia blanketed Malaysia and Singapore under a pall of smoke while deadly wildfires in Arizona and Colorado took the lives of 21 including 19 fire fighters.
Below is a summary of some of the month’s highlights.
The biggest weather-related news story of the month in the U.S. was a prolonged heat wave in the Southwest and two devastating wild fires, one near Yarnell, Arizona (June 30th) and the other near Colorado Springs, Colorado (June 11-20). The Yarnell fire resulted in the tragic loss of 19 firefighters, the deadliest wild fire event for U.S. firefighters in 80 years. Over 120 homes in the town were also destroyed.
A fire fighting tanker jet drops fire retardant on the Yarnell, Arizona blaze on June 30th. The fire killed 19 fire fighters. Photo by Tom Story, The Arizona Republic newspaper.
The most devastating wild fire in Colorado history burned 500 homes and resulted in two deaths. Both fires could, in part, be blamed on a prolonged period of record heat and dryness in the region. Las Vegas, Nevada tied its hottest official temperature on record with a 117°F (47.2°C) reading on June 30th. Death Valley, California hit 129°F (53.9°C) on June 30th, the warmest temperature measured on earth for the month, and tying its warmest temperature ever recorded in modern records.
The maximum thermometer at Furnace Creek, Death Valley peaked at 129.2°F (54°C) on June 30th, perhaps the hottest reliably measured temperature on earth. Photo courtesy of the Death Valley National Park Service and NWS-Las Vegas.
Salt Lake City, Utah measured no precipitation during June for only the 3rd time (the previous times were last June in 2012 and also in 1948). It was the driest June on record for the state of Utah as a whole. Alaska experienced record-breaking heat mid-month with all-time records being broken at Talkeetna (96°F/35.6°C) and McGrath (94°F/34.4°C) on June 17th. The month was the state’s 4th warmest June on record. Northern Canada also was affected with Cape Perry, Northwest Territory recording its warmest temperature on record with a 24.1°C (75.4°F) reading.
In contrast to the Southwest, the Northeast was exceptionally wet with New Jersey and Delaware experiencing their wettest Junes since at least 1894. Below are the state-by-state rankings for temperature and precipitation during June:
Maps of the June temperature and precipitation rankings state-by-state for June. NCDC/NOAA.
Heavy rainfall pounded the Calgary, Alberta, Canada region on June 18-21 causing the worst flood in the city’s history. A full report on this epic flood may be found in this blog I wrote after the event. A rare measurable snowfall occurred on June 4th in Quebec where 2-5 cm (1-2”) accumulated at Matagami.
The coldest temperature in the northern hemisphere during this past June was a reading of -29.8°C (-21.6°F) at Summit, Greenland on June 2nd.
SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA
The warmest temperature measured in the southern hemisphere during June was 38.4°C (101.1°F) at Porto Nacional, Brazil on June 30th.
The worst flooding in 500 years affected portions of southern Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary following a week of torrential rainfall in late May and early June causing the Elbe and Danube Rivers (among others) to overflow their banks. Damage from the floods has been estimated to be in excess of 3 billion Euros ($4 billion dollars). Jeff Masters wrote this extensive summary of the historic event.
Flooding on the Danube River at the town of Passau, Bavaria, Germany (on the border of Austria) on June 5th. It was the worst flood in over 500 years at this site. Photo by Armin Weigel/EPA.
The floods were followed by a brief but intense heat wave that saw temperatures climb to 37°C (98.6°F) in Germany as well as Prague and Budapest. A June national record for heat was set in Austria where a reading of 38.6°C (101.5°F) was recorded at Waidhofen an der Ybbs on June 20th.
The United Kingdom had a largely uneventful month with near average temperatures and precipitation. The warmest reading measured was 27.2°C (81.0°F) at Heathrow Airport (London area) on June 30th and the coolest -1.1° (30.0°F) at Tulloch Bridge, Highland on June 1st. The greatest 24-hour precipitation amount was 39.8 mm (1.57”) at Ballypatrick Forest, County Antrim on June 13-14.
It was exceptionally hot in North Africa during June with Dongalla, Sudan peaking at 49.2°C (120.6°F) on June 3rd, just 0.5°C (0.9°F) from its all-time record. Bagaria, Egypt reached 48.7°C (119.7°F) on June 2nd, its all-time heat record for any month. Faya Largeau in Chad most likely broke the Chad national record for heat on June 4th when the temperature came within just a few decimals of the record 47.6°C (117.7°F) set on June 22, 2010, however its met station lost data after 1 p.m.
By far the biggest weather story of the month worldwide was the devastating flood the hit the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarkhand in mid-June. Reports of up to 568 mm (22.36”) of rain over a 45-hour period June 14-16 caused the mountain rivers to overflow their banks and wash away entire villages. It would appear that at least 5,000 people perished. Jeff Masters has just posted a detailed blog on the event.
A submerged image of the Hindu idol Shiva in the town of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand State on June 18th. Many of the 5,000 killed by the floods were pilgrims visiting sacred sites in the region. Ironically, Shiva is sometimes referred to as 'The Destroyer' among the Hindu faithful. AP Photo.
The other big story in Asia during June was the smog event in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia caused by man-made fires to clear plantation land in Sumatra, Indonesia. You may read more about this in a guest blog by National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita posted last month.
Dense fog in Zhumadian, Henan Province in central China caused a deadly 56-vehicle accident that killed nine on the Beijing-Hong Kong Expressway on June 4th.
A still from a video following the horrific fog-related crash that occurred along the Beijing-Hong Kong expressway on June 4th. There were nine fatalities. Videographer unidentified.
An unprecedented hailstorm hit Singapore on June 25th depositing hailstones up to 2 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Singapore, being at sea level and just 1° latitude north of the equator, has never experienced a hailstorm before.
It was generally a wet month with mostly average temperatures. Victoria reported its wettest June since 1995 and Western Australia its wettest since 1998.
Maps of the deciles for June precipitation (top) and June maximum temperature (bottom) for Australia. Maps courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The hottest temperature measured during the month was 37.4°C (99.3°F) at Douglas River, Northern Territory on June 16th and the coldest -11.2°C (11.8°F) at Liawenee, Tasmania on June 23rd. The greatest calendar day precipitation was 223.6 mm (8.80”) at Roebourne, Western Australia on June 25th. This was the 2nd heaviest rainfall on record for Roebourne (the record being 233.7mm/9.20“ on March 7, 1945).
It was generally wetter and warmer than normal in New Zealand during June. Portions of Otaga reported their wettest June on record. The greatest calendar day rainfall was 187 mm (7.36”) at Pigeon Creek, Tasman on June 3rd. The warmest temperature was 22.1°C (71.8°F) at Winchmore on June 2nd and the coldest -12.1°C (10.2°F) on June 28th. A powerful winter storm struck the South Island on June 20th depositing snow in the Christchurch area and winds gusting to 202 km/h (125 mph) at Mt. Kaukau, Wellington. The airport at Wellington was closed and all ferry service suspended. Sea swells of 15 meters (50 feet) were reported in the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands.
Fierce winds and waves drove this yacht ashore at Wellington, New Zealand during the storm on June 20th. Waves in the Cook Strait reached 15 meters (50’) high. Photo by Maarten Holl.
The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during June was -78.4°C (-109.1°F) recorded at Nico on June 7th. A very unusual ‘heat event’ affected the South Pole Station (Amundsen-Scott) during the month when they recorded their warmest June temperature on record with a -28.8°C (-19.8°F) reading (the previous record was -30.9°C/-23.6°F on June 1, 1993). Not only was this a record for June but it even beat their warmest temperature ever recorded in May (-30.8°C/-23.4°F) set on May 3, 1981 and almost topped the April record for warmth as well (-28.1°C/-18.6°F) on April 13, 1968.
KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data, Stephen Burt for the U.K. extremes, and Jeremy Budd for New Zealand weather extremes.
Christopher C. Burt
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